HiddenCllrs ----> DNA Cellars (a bit of history)

Amazing what you can find out out there on the InterNet. Some of it even true. Like windmills cause cancer.

I was trying to remember what wnry prominently featured a LadyBug on its label (don’t ask why). The name DennisPatton
popped into my mind. And a Google search told me the rest of the story.

Dennis started his winemaking career whilst living on the EaglePoint Ranch. I’m guessing this was before CaseyHartlip
was there. He started out at farming vegetables, organically, on land leased from the Scharffenbergers. He was making some
3,000 gal/yr of bootleg wine that he was selling to friends (musta had a lot of friends!!).
So he decided to go legal and started HiddenCllrs, mostly from organic grapes, that featured the LadyBug on the label
to promote the organic origins, in 1981. I thought the wines were some of the best wines coming out of MendoCnty at the time,
though not as good as MilanoCllrs and Edmeades. He sold the wnry to Parducci in 1999.
He then went on to found, with his wife Andrea, DNA Cllrs, that focuses on making wines for private labels. If you look at the
WebSite, they highlight all the private labels they make for TraderJoe’s. I don’t think FredFranzia is so open about being
a major supplier to TJ’s. Dennis, along w/ PaulDolan, was one of the founders of the Coro Mendocino effort.
I met Dennis several times at ZAP and liked the guy quite a lot. Interesting to stumble upon this bit of history.

This is not an obituary but still shows the remoteness of Mendocino county. Dennis Patton is possibly one of the most influential characters in Mendo winemaking in recent history. With all due respect to Charlie Barra and John Parducci, Dennis started a winery in 1981 with no money and a dream. John Scharffenberger sold him some Zinfandel from a place he owned in Talmage.
Dennis would be an awesome podcast with his memories of San Jose state during the late 60’s. Hanging with members of the doobie brothers and drinking fine wines. I lived at Eaglepoint ranch with him as a neighbor for many years. He along with Greg Graziano were my mentors in winemaking. That still holds John Scharffenberger in the highest regard above all others.
Dennis, Paul Dolan, and others came up with the concept of Coro Mendocino. I’m humbled to be part of the early days of that project. I’m still haunted to this day that the Coro Mendocino project never got national recognition. Once again the disrespect of Mendocino county.
I’ve lost touch with Dennis over the past 10 years as our orbits are not in the same cycle. I do know he has a 16 year old daughter that is his main focus now.

Huh. I would’ve guessed Lolonis as the label you were looking for. Interesting bit of wine history, either way.

You are right on the Lolonis folks and the lady bug label.

Thanks for fleshing out the story about Dennis. I’d like to meet him next time.
And you are right…Lolonis was the lady bug. One year at ZAP they were plastering lady bug stickers on everyone’s shirts…or cleavage in some cases.